As the weather dropped to a chilling 43 degrees and the lights of downtown came to life, friends, family and students gathered in the Brickhouse Bar & Grill in Vancouver, on November 6 for the release show of The Act. They’re a four person band comprised of talented jazz musicians as well as students from Clackamas Community College.
The band consists of trumpet player Regina Raine, drummer Tyrus Friedstrom, bassist Carson Krauss and lead vocalist and guitarist Annabella Gelmetti. All of these members have a laid-back attitude that translates seamlessly into their music. The band has been together for a little over a year and originally started as a trio band which Gelmetti founded.
“She had a New Year’s gig at Tavern on Kruse and they needed an opener so Annabella contacted me and I had already played with her outside of high school,” said Friedstrom. “The first time I ever interacted with Carson was through the gig. Winter break started and we just jammed, she already had four or five songs and by the time we were done the songs had completely changed and we kind of made them our own.”
The band picked up Raine as their fourth and final member for CCC’s Garage Band Competition, which is a part of a three-day MPT festival (Music Performance and Technology) that allows junior and senior high school students to compete for scholarships and free studio time in CCC’s studio. The band took first place and used the studio time to record and produce their two new singles ‘Paper Thin’ and ‘Far Away.’
All four members of The Act have a long history in music, and have committed countless hours towards perfecting their sound.
“Music comes to you in the weirdest ways. For me it was listening,” said Krauss. “There were no bass players at my school so I was kind of filling a role. I’ve been playing electric bass for nine years and I’ve been playing upright bass for four and a half. I taught myself how to play upright bass for some high school groups and it just stuck.”
Gelmetti has been strumming a guitar seemingly all her life, and has the sound to back it up. “I started singing and playing guitar when I was five, so that would be 14 years now,” said Gelmetti. “About the age of seven was when I wrote my first song and it was very basic, like one chord the whole time. But after that I told my guitar teacher I didn’t want to play anybody’s music but my own from that moment on and I kind of held to my word.”
Gelmetti also lends time to the saxophone and piano, which she believes helped her maintain a steady and positive work flow in her music education. “Having that young foundation of loving music and not being brutalized with it made my life a lot easier in music school,” Gelmetti said.
While Raine’s parents are not musicians, they raised a full family of them which Raine fits right into, and it’s thanks to the choices of her siblings that The Act has the unique and freeing sound of a trumpet. “I’ve been going to piano lessons for as long as I can remember,” said Raine. “I started playing trumpet in sixth grade. Funny story my brother was a percussionist, my second sister was a violinist, so strings were out and my older sister was a saxophonist so I couldn’t play reed instruments, so I just chose brass.”
Friedstrom has an impressive eight years in music, starting in seventh grade. “I was in band through middle school and high school. I was mostly doing percussion stuff, tambourine, snare drum, occasional cowbell,” said Friedstrom.
“It wasn’t until junior year when I joined Jazz Ensemble with Annabelle that I really grew and really started to focus on drums. My teacher and tutor, Greg Van Winkle, really disciplined me and gave me what we call jazz discipline.”
One aspect of The Act that is a joy to tackle is the difficulty in pinning down the genre of music in which they play. Inspiration from seemingly hundreds of bands filters through these four members, and even they have difficulty discerning their sound. Indie-rock-jazz is the closest they could get, and it fits very well.
“We mix in a lot of things that you wouldn’t normally hear like alternative folk, a little bit funk, it has rock. I like playing it, I like music you can dance to,” said Krauss.
The Act seeks to put out an accepting sound, one that anyone can listen to and feel free.
“Please let our performance be an escape from the crazy and hectic world that has become our reality,” said Krauss. “Whenever I’m up on stage playing with these guys I feel so much love and I want that to come across to the audience. I want every note to resonate on that frequency of love and peace and understanding. Don’t let your life be an act, let it be real, be yourself in every moment.”
For Gelmetti, their music can also serve to help combat the endeavors of everyday life. “A lot of our songs are about friendship, heartbreak, love,” said Gelmetti. “Building healthy relationships and trying to find your place in the world.”
For Friedstrom, it’s about individuality and being in the moment. “I don’t do things the same time every performance,” said Friedstrom. “Every performance, every song, every note is special and it’s with the intent and energy we want people to jump on to.”
A release show is meant to signify the birth of a band’s professional career, and this is no exception. The band has big plans for the future and the talent to do so. “I look at this band as a space for us to grow our creative side,” said Gelmetti. “This is a really free band to experiment with new ideas and this is constantly growing so we’re just going to see where we can take it.”
As the band finished their final song, ‘Paper Thin’ on stage, they were met with thunderous applause from all the music lovers who piled into their venue on a cold night. People who came to hear a warm and inviting sound that all can vibe to. You can find The Act on streaming services such as Spotify, iHeartRadio, iTunes and Google Play.